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Diary

Inigo Thomas: Michael Wolff’s Book Party, 8 February 2018

... to understand for himself – and so do the journalists who write about him. Or most of them. Michael Wolff never planned to write a book about the president just as Trump never planned to become president. Wolff remained uncertain about his book’s prospects in the days leading to its publication in ...

Questions of Chic

Michael Mason, 19 August 1993

City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late Victorian London 
by Judith Walkowitz.
Virago, 353 pp., £16.99, November 1992, 1 85381 517 9
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Cruelty and Companionship: Conflict in 19th-century Married Life 
by James Hammerton.
Routledge, 236 pp., £37.50, November 1992, 0 415 03622 4
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Victorian Scandals: Representations of Gender and Class 
edited by Kristine Ottersen Garrigan.
Ohio, 337 pp., $34.99, August 1992, 0 8214 1019 9
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... the odds this burly two-volume compilation of essays, brought together by Jim Dyos in England and Michael Wolff in America, became a classic. Against the odds, because these essays were, in origin, conference proceedings, and there were nearly forty of them. Conventional publishing wisdom would hope for only a modest success from such a formula, but The ...

Philoponia

Jonathan Barnes, 9 July 1987

Philoponus and the Rejection of Aristotelian Science 
by Richard Sorabji.
Duckworth, 253 pp., £29.50, February 1987, 0 7156 2089 4
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... the intricacies of Philoponan theology. There is a learned disquisition on impetus theory by Michael Wolff. Lindsay Judson deals subtly with Philoponus’s views on creation. And seven other scholars offer seven other morsels. Philoponus has not always been popular. For his theological views he was condemned as a heretic, and in 680 was formally ...

Country Life

David Cannadine, 5 November 1981

The Victorian Countryside 
edited by G.E. Mingay.
Routledge, 380 pp., £25, July 1981, 0 7100 0734 5
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... and Kegan Paul published The Victorian City: Images and Realities, edited by H.J. Dyos and Michael Wolff, a Wagnerian epic in which history went to town in exuberant, zestful and flamboyant fashion. Understandably, the two volumes won immediate and widespread acclaim as a tour de force of entrepreneurial inspiration and editorial skill: ‘a study ...

Must they twinkle?

John Sutherland, 1 August 1985

British Literary Magazines. Vol. III: The Victorian and Edwardian Age 1837-1913 
edited by Alvin Sullivan.
Greenwood, 560 pp., £88.50, December 1984, 0 313 24335 2
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The Book Book 
by Anthony Blond.
Cape, 226 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 224 02074 9
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... catalogues a central interest in the 19th century, and marks another forward leap in charting what Michael Wolff twenty years ago called the ‘golden stream’ of Victorian periodical writing. More than most directories, the BLM series can be read as literary history. Each volume shows lines of development, innovation, experiment and decay. It was ...

Bravo l’artiste

John Lanchester: What is Murdoch after?, 5 February 2004

The Murdoch Archipelago 
by Bruce Page.
Simon and Schuster, 580 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 7432 3936 9
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Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Media Wizard 
by Neil Chenoweth.
Crown Business, 416 pp., $27.50, December 2002, 0 609 61038 4
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Autumn of the Moguls: My Misadventures with the Titans, Poseurs and Money Guys who Mastered and Messed up Big Media 
by Michael Wolff.
Flamingo, 381 pp., £18.99, January 2004, 0 00 717881 6
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... Westland, the Sun naturally backed her, and so when Patrick Mayhew, the Solicitor-General, told Michael Heseltine that his account of the rival bids might contain ‘material inaccuracies’, this confidential legal advice was immediately leaked to the Sun, whose sensitive and nuanced front-page account of the discussion was a banner headline: ‘you ...

God’s Iceberg

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 4 December 1986

The ‘ Titanic’: The Full Story of a Tragedy 
by Michael Davie.
Bodley Head, 244 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 9780370307640
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The IT Girls: Elinor Glyn and Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon 
by Meredith Etherington-Smith and Jeremy Pilcher.
Hamish Hamilton, 258 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 241 11950 2
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... the weather been hazier, more care might have been taken and the collision avoided. In that case, Michael Davie suggests, it’s likely that no one would ever have known how close to disaster they’d been: ‘not all near-misses by aircraft are reported now; and the Ice Patrol wonder how many near-collisions by ships were reported then.’ At the inquiries ...

Liberation Music

Richard Gott: In Memory of Cornelius Cardew, 12 March 2009

Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished 
by John Tilbury.
Copula, 1069 pp., £45, October 2008, 978 0 9525492 3 9
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... free improvisation and led a Scratch Orchestra of musicians and artists; that his father was Michael Cardew, the potter; that he wrote a polemical tract alleging that Stockhausen ‘serves imperialism’; and that, after spending a decade as a prominent Maoist, he was killed by a hit-and-run driver, in an apparent accident that conspiracy theorists have ...

Why name a ship after a defeated race?

Thomas Laqueur: New Lives of the ‘Titanic’, 24 January 2013

The Wreck of the ‘Titan’ 
by Morgan Robertson.
Hesperus, 85 pp., £8, March 2012, 978 1 84391 359 7
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Shadow of the ‘Titanic’ 
by Andrew Wilson.
Simon and Schuster, 392 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 1 84739 882 6
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‘Titanic’ 100th Anniversary Edition: A Night Remembered 
by Stephanie Barczewski.
Continuum, 350 pp., £15.99, December 2011, 978 1 4411 6169 7
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The Story of the Unsinkable ‘Titanic’: Day by Day Facsimile Reports 
by Michael Wilkinson and Robert Hamilton.
Transatlantic, 127 pp., £16.99, November 2011, 978 1 907176 83 8
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‘Titanic’ Lives: Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 404 pp., £9.99, September 2012, 978 0 00 732166 7
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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage 
by Hugh Brewster.
Robson, 338 pp., £20, March 2012, 978 1 84954 179 4
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‘Titanic’ Calling 
edited by Michael Hughes and Katherine Bosworth.
Bodleian, 163 pp., £14.99, April 2012, 978 1 85124 377 8
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... to thousands of tourists.’ The Titanic, built in the huge and militantly Protestant Harland & Wolff shipyard, ended up at the bottom of the sea, a symbol of failure. Not much to celebrate there. But by the 1990s the Troubles were waning and interest in the Titanic was waxing as a result of the Hollywood blockbuster. And so the ship escaped its fraught ...

Madnesses

John Kerr, 23 March 1995

The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement 
by Richard Noll.
Princeton, 387 pp., £19.95, January 1995, 0 691 03724 8
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... in old age with the assistance of Aniela Jaffé and at the instigation of Pantheon’s Kurt Wolff in one of the great publishing coups of the century. But neither Wolff nor Jung was so simple-minded as to think the world wanted to know exactly who ‘Personality No 2’ was. By Jung’s own account, it all began in ...

‘No, no,’ replied the fat man

Michael Davie, 3 December 1992

The Power of News: The History of Reuters 
by Donald Read.
Oxford, 330 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 19 821776 5
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... who had not even begun to live in England until the age of 34.’ Havas, the French agency, and Wolff, the German agency, received secret subsidies from their respective governments. There were countries in which Reuters, despite its claims, was totally dependent on official money. Egypt was one example. The Egyptian press was too weak to sustain the ...

You have £2000, I have a kidney

Glen Newey: Morals and Markets, 21 June 2012

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets 
by Michael Sandel.
Allen Lane, 244 pp., £20, April 2012, 978 1 84614 471 4
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How Much Is Enough?: The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life 
by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky.
Allen Lane, 256 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 1 84614 448 6
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... Michael Sandel’s What Money Can’t Buy does for the market what the London Dungeon does for urban history. It’s a compendium of horror stories arising from what one might call the ryanairation of social life, the breakdown of once cash-free practices into severally billable units of account. Capitol Hill lobbying outfits now pay queuing firms to stand in line, sometimes overnight, so that the lobbyists can step in just before a committee session starts; ‘concierge’ medical companies offer queue-jumping treatment to those willing to stump up the fees ...

You Dying Nations

Jeremy Adler: Georg Trakl, 17 April 2003

Poems and Prose 
by Georg Trakl, translated by Alexander Stillmark.
Libris, 192 pp., £40, March 2001, 1 870352 51 3
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... stretches from Hölderlin to Rilke and Celan. Unlike them, however, he is little known in Britain. Michael Hamburger’s translations established Hölderlin and Celan in English, but he was less fortunate with Trakl, and Decline, his pamphlet of 1952, was not reprinted. There was a larger selection by James Wright and Robert Bly in 1961; and Hamburger’s ...

Un Dret Egal

David A. Bell: Political Sentiment, 15 November 2007

Inventing Human Rights: A History 
by Lynn Hunt.
Norton, 272 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 0 393 06095 9
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... rights’, and carefully follow the labyrinthine debates among Grotius, Pufendorf, Locke and Wolff on the same and related subjects, before even reaching the late 18th century. Hunt has little to say on any of this material. And having established the ‘invention’ of human rights in the age of revolutions, she finishes off the rest of their ...

Bendy Rulers

Glen Newey: Amartya Sen, 28 January 2010

TheIdea of Justice 
by Amartya Sen.
Allen Lane, 468 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 1 84614 147 8
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... benefit their possessor if they are converted into abilities that can be exercised securely, as Jo Wolff and Avner de-Shalit underline in their book Disadvantage. They use Sen’s example of wild honey gatherers in West Bengal, who run a significant risk of being eaten by tigers. Those who gather do so from economic necessity, and the fact that they are ...

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